Governors Ball 2013

Kanye West @ Governors Ball (June 9, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 13th 2013 — with 1 comment

Kanye West capped off Governors Ball in a legendary performance that will have people talking about it for many years and Governors Ball festivals to come.

I got worried as Kanye West was 20 minutes late, but it was just Kanye being Kanye. He didn’t waste any time welcoming the crowd to his new era, kicking into mind-bending renditions of his new songs “Black Skinhead” & “New Slaves.” The tracks were monsters live, creating quite the stir all across the island crowd.

From there we got to here a few new songs that were anywhere from sounding like industrial rock to electronic Daft Punk like. Any fan of Kanye couldn’t have been disappointed by his set, it was basically a quick whiplash run through of his greatest hits. “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”, “Power”, “Jesus Walks”, “Heartless”, “Flashing Lights”, “Stronger”. He did so in rapid fire pace, starting the next song just as the last barely finished.

The best part of the show was Kanye’s rant mid-show, something that is commonplace at his shows. Even he was in on the joke, as he prefaced his rant by saying “This is the part of the show where I start complaining about shit.” before lamenting on how he was sick of the system of the music industry and wanted to just please the fans. He then said “I’m just happy to be making music and happy to be performing for you all. You know for this album, we didn’t drop a single to radio, we ain’t have no big NBA campaign, we don’t even have a cover. We only made real music.” “Back then we used to go work on an album for like 5 months, then we’d come back and wait for the label to pick the perfect time to release it. The next line is what really made me realize that Kanye really is ahead of the rest of the pack:

“When you listen to radio, that isn’t where I want to be any more. And, honestly, at this point, I could give a f–k about selling a million records. I’ll drop it when I want and I’ll sell more records. Because at this point, I don’t really care about outside opinions. The only thing I care about is my clique.”

Hate him or love him, but he knows what he is doing. He gave an unforgettable performance Sunday night and ended the festival with a show that I will never forget.
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The xx @ Governors Ball (June 9, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 13th 2013 — with 1 comment

If you had any doubts that The xx are here to stay, here I am to confirm that. They played to a massive audience as the sub-headliner on Sunday, packing their section of Randall’s Island with ease. I’ve seen them a few times now, and every single time has been an improvement over the last.

They may not have the most expansive sound but they make it work live with powerful vocal work. But the unsung hero is Jamie XX, who holds down the fort like an anchor creating a massive swell of a sound in the back. He’s the thread that links all the pieces together.

The xx are only going to continue to improve live over time. Don’t be surprised when they sell out Radio City this September.
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Bloc Party @ Governors Ball (June 9, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 13th 2013

Bloc Party are still a fucking force live guys. Forget about their new records and everything else that has turned you slightly off to the band you once feel in love with. They still bring it live. It certainly helps that they opened with “So Here We Are”, a song that I never thought I would hear live ever again. It was glorious. Then they kicked into “Hunting for Witches” & “Positive Tension” before I had to leave to catch a bit of The xx. But that was as good of a 3-song opening as we could ever hope from Bloc Party in 2013. They still have the live energy and they know what works. If only they could carry this same stuff to their recordings.
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Grizzly Bear @ Governors Ball (June 9, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 13th 2013 — with 1 comment

I’ve seen Grizzly Bear countless of times now, but their set at Governors Ball on Sunday was one of the most special yet. They graced us with their lovely sounds as the sun was setting over a gorgous skyline. The music was literally in tune with the surroundings of Randells island creating something unforgettable.

No matter how many times I see Grizzly Bear, they find ways to amaze.
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Beirut @ Governors Ball (June 9, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 13th 2013 — with 1 comment

The wild reception that Beirut received upon arriving on stage rivaled the likes of a mega rock band with crazed screams and cheers that would honestly surprise you. You could tell that Zach Condon and the rest of Beirut were taken aback by all of it, even though it’s all well deserved.

Not many bands can captivate an audience with the classic old school sound that Beirut employs. But they make it work and it breathes more life than most bands could ever achieve. When you hear a song as classic as “Postcards From Italy” second in a set, you know the band must be something special.

Beirut are truly one of a kind, a band that has quietly ascended to one of my favorites.
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Foals @ Governors Ball (June 9, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 13th 2013

Foals were a last minute replacement when Death From Above 1979 dropped out of the lineup (the apparently reason was that they’re recording a new album). I love DFA1979 so I was sad to hear that, but Governors Ball really did make up for it with Foals, who I saw rock out at Terminal 5 only a month ago.

They did it again on Sunday, sounding rock solid tight. Yannis was active as ever, taking over what would eventually be Kanye’s ramp/stairs and rocking the guitar while crowdsurfing. If you haven’t ever seen a Foals show, you’re missing out.

Deerhunter @ Governors Ball (June 9, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 13th 2013

The always eccentric Bradford Cox began Deerhunter’s set by explaining to the crowd how oil, which powers mostly everything, is made up of our ancestors, and by using voltage to rock out, we were basically spraying our dead ancestors onto ourselves. Just Bradford being Bradford for ya.

From there Deerhunter ripped into a set during a ripe sun that was quite fitting for a viciously loud set that was not to be missed.
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Portugal. The Man @ Governors Ball (June 9, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 12th 2013 — with 2 comments

Portugal. The Man were one of those bands that I always wanted to check out more but just never did. I always felt like I would like them, but I just never got around to fully giving them a chance. Since I’ve seen Cold War Kids a few times in my days, I decided I would skip them to finally see what Portugal. The Man were all about. Glad I did, because they were a treat live.

They sort of reminded me a lot of the newer direction that The Shins have taken, which makes sense as Portugal. The Man’s new album Evil Friends was produced by Danger Mouse. A lot of the songs they played definitely had that Danger Mouse/James Mercer sound to them. I enjoyed their set so much so that I made it my mission this month to dig into their catalog and finally get into them after all this time.
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Freddie Gibbs @ Governors Ball (June 9, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 12th 2013

Freddie Gibbs is the type of rapper that I enjoy. Any hip-hop artist that doesn’t have to rely on gimmicks is a-ok in my book. I like when artists find ways to connect thoughtfully through their words. That’s what catches my attention. Freddie Gibbs does this with relative ease and also finds way to strike you with smooth rhymes and beats.

Crazy to see that he hasn’t even released a proper studio album yet. Whenever that comes out, I will be excited to check it out.
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Haim @ Governors Ball (June 9, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 12th 2013

As we impatiently await Haim’s debut album we still have time to enjoy their early days as a rather young band. There’s no doubt in my mind that this trio of sisters are going to explode in the next year or so once that album is released. Even so, they have a pretty incredible run of early singles that are very much impressive. They bring it live with a lot of energy and actually look like they’re having a good time doing it.
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